skip to main content

Title: SL-1 Accident Briefing Report - 1961 Nuclear Reactor Meltdown Educational Documentary

U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (Idaho Operations Office) briefing about the SL-1 Nuclear Reactor Meltdown. The SL-1, or Stationary Low-Power Reactor Number One, was a United States Army experimental nuclear power reactor which underwent a steam explosion and meltdown on January 3, 1961, killing its three operators. The direct cause was the improper withdrawal of the central control rod, responsible for absorbing neutrons in the reactor core. The event is the only known fatal reactor accident in the United States. The accident released about 80 curies (3.0 TBq) of Iodine-131, which was not considered significant due to its location in a remote desert of Idaho. About 1,100 curies (41 TBq) of fission products were released into the atmosphere. The facility, located at the National Reactor Testing Station approximately 40 miles (64 km) west of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was part of the Army Nuclear Power Program and was known as the Argonne Low Power Reactor (ALPR) during its design and build phase. It was intended to provide electrical power and heat for small, remote military facilities, such as radar sites near the Arctic Circle, and those in the DEW Line. The design power was 3 MW (thermal). Operating power was 200 kWmore » electrical and 400 kW thermal for space heating. In the accident, the core power level reached nearly 20 GW in just four milliseconds, precipitating the reactor accident and steam explosion.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1122857
Resource Type:
Multimedia
Research Org:
OSTI (Office of Scientific and Technical Information, Oak Ridge, TN)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; NUCLEAR REACTOR; MELTDOWN; SL-1; ACCIDENT